“The way is the goal"
“The way is the goal"
It's amazing how fast time flies. Can you believe that we are moving towards the end of another year? I am almost certain that, for most of you, it was a year full of various journeys, achievements, moving forward and progress in one way or another.
I have been reflecting on my work with my clients and wanted to see which were the most common topics covered during my coaching sessions. Which topics were most present. Obviously, each change journey is always very personal, and the topics discussed were very different accordingly.
One topic, which showed up as a challenge over and over again for most of my clients, is how they perceived the way in which to achieve their goals and how they dealt with the experiences on the way. “The way is the goal” by the Chinese philosopher Confucius was often the ground for our discussions.
By being motivated to achieve their goals as soon as possible, they often tended to forget about the importance of the way and the learning process. Especially when it came to rejection, negative feedback, falling and failing on the way. It was challenging for them not to only focus on achieving their end destination, but also to consider and value the learnings and richness of the journey.
Reflecting back I remember many inspiring discussions with my clients about the power of ‘way orientation’ instead of only ‘goal orientation’. ’Way orientation’ helps us to recognise how much time and effort we are investing on development and progress and in which ways it adds value to whatever we want to achieve in the end.
’Way orientation’ is also very much connected with cultivating openness and curiosity towards our growth in different ways. It enables us to shift our fixed mindset (being focused only on the outcome), into a growth mindset. Let’s bear in mind that with a fixed mindset we often nourish our fears and uncertainties simply because we focus on that one outcome. In contrast, with a growth mindset we draw from our courage resources and create for ourselves different ways to progress and grow. In addition we increase the probability of achieving outcomes which may, at first, have appeared to be out of reach.
How can we achieve a successful ‘way orientation’? In my view, it is all about not losing sight of our entire self, our whole, our beliefs, values, abilities, knowledge, past experiences etc. A high degree of self-awareness, being in contact with our own feelings, our inner-self and our desires and having a realistic self-image of ourselves are also major contributors to experiences we create for ourselves during ‘way orientation’.
Now what about you? What would you say was your main focus this year ‘goal orientation’ or ‘way orientation’? Or maybe both? Or a good mix of both? As the year is coming to an end soon, now is a good time to take a step back and reflect on the achievements of the year. Why not take the opportunity to reflect not only on your achievements, but also on the ways in which you achieved them. The following reflection questions will help you to look deeper at your ‘way orientation’:
Which lessons did you learn on the way?
Which courage muscles could you train?
Which fears and uncertainties stood in your way and how did you overcome them?
What motivated you most to move forward?
Who helped you the most?
Which new network connections did you build for yourself?
In which ways could you develop personally?
Which additional knowledge did you gain on the way?
What lead mostly to your happiness and satisfaction and what least? Why?
You are welcome to add your own reflection questions to the list. Make it a courageous reflection and go deep to get to know the different dimensions of your ‘way orientation’ and their impact!